Monday, December 19, 2016

Three Christmas Wishes


PEACE
Wishing you the peace that comes from within -
the tranquil serenity found in moments of quiet reflection.

LOVE
Wishing that you experience pure love –
giving and receiving the warmth of affection
for yourself and others.

JOY
Wishing you the joy of living –
the ability to recognize and pause to experience
simple moments of bliss in daily life.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Sewing and a Cat Mat

I'm still spending lots of time in the sewing room, especially with the cold temps last week.  I made a few more Christmas table mats for the kitchen and got to use more of the fabulous stitches on my new machine. 

Callie Cat has a thing for fabric, too.  She likes to plop down on anything soft...a shirt, a quilt, a pillow, or any material you've left on a horizontal surface.  Even when I'm sewing, I'll turn around and she is laying on the very project I'm working on.  So I decided to sew up a cat mat of her very own.  The dots on the fabric are little cat faces.  I think she likes it.


The end of December is normally hectic and busy, but this year I'm trying to take it easy and concentrate on what's important.  I hope you all seek out your own peace and happiness this Christmas season.  

 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dodge It or Ram It

Last week, I worked hard in the sewing room garage. If you know me, you know that I'm not afraid of getting dirty, and that I learned about cars at my daddy's side as a wee child.

We've had more than our share of brake issues with our '96 Dodge Ram 2500. I think that's what they had in mind when they named it.
...either Dodge it or Ram it, 'cause you ain't gonna stop
The brakes have never been anything to brag about, although we've changed nearly everything in the system several times. Well, not any more. Now that we found the perfect combination of parts and components, this beast will stop on a dime.

By the way, brake fluid is slippery stuff, and it will strip the polish right off your fingernails. I'll be giving myself a manicure this week.

“Every girl should have a basic knowledge 
of cars and home maintenance.” ~katiescarlett


Monday, November 28, 2016

Fine Stitching

Oh how I love my new Janome! She has a quiet purr as she stitches along, even at the racy speeds that I sew. She's a time saver, too, because the presser foot automatically comes down when I press on the accelerator. All I need to do is align the fabric and go.

Of course, I've already completed several projects since I brought her home. These pillows for our living room went quickly since I already had them cut. I designed a dark red table mat and coaster set to showcase some of the beautiful stitching. 
 


Even with the mass quantities of fabric and thread I already own, my Black Friday online shopping cart was filled with more. I mean, how could I resist 75% off quilting thread, 60% off fabric pre-cuts, and free shipping? And I wouldn't want to run out...

Money can't buy happiness,
but it can buy sewing supplies.
And that's pretty close.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Still Sewing...

 
There's too many ideas,
too many stitches,  
too much fabric,
(did I really say that?)
and not enough time!  



 

Monday, November 7, 2016

A New Machine!

Oh my goodness, what an amazing weekend. On Saturday, I bought myself a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400 sewing/quilting machine. I've only just come up for air this morning, and my feet haven't touched the ground yet. Well, except to hold the pedal to the floor and zoom zoom. She's a sleek fast one, with plenty of bright lighting and a huge work space.  


I've always had Singer machines, so this is the first brand change for me. I've been comparing different models, but once I test drove this one, it had to be mine. And it was on sale. Cha-ching! I still have my Singer XL1000 for embroidery, although she's feeling a bit neglected at the moment. 
 
Between learning the fabulous features and playing with the gorgeous stitches, I rearranged the tables and cleaned up my sewing space. Then I finished a table mat and some coasters. I practically ignored Jerold and the cat, poor dears had to fend for themselves.

I'll give a more complete review later, but for now I just have to get back to the sewing room.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Balance

I've been taking things as they come for the past week. Alternating between paperwork and me time seems like the best way to manage right now. 

Thankfully, I have this lovely time of year to go out and enjoy a breath of fresh air.


Balance is not something you find,
it's something you create.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Go Rest High On That Mountain




My feisty little redheaded mama has gone on to her next adventure. This week, just 2 months shy of her 84th birthday, she left this world to be free of cancer and pain. I will miss her, but I'm happy that I spent most of the past year with her.


Everything about her was
both unique and complicated.”
~Deborah Moggach 

Sam Hill was the cool mama, Girl Scout leader, and she would do anything for her kids. Never a dull moment with her!  She was an outspoken free spirit with an attitude, who loved mini-skirts, cold beer, tight jeans, motorcycles, Camaros, and bikinis.

If you knew Sam or would like to do something in her honor, please pick one of the things she was most passionate about: plant some flowers, go shopping for cute shoes, or spend a day fishing. She'd like that and it would make me smile!


"You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain
 
Go rest high on that mountain
‘Cause your work on earth is done"
~Vince Gill

Monday, October 10, 2016

Waiting...

It seems like we wait a lot in this life, which can be very frustrating. We can’t rush waiting and we can’t wait any faster. We can only wait.

We wait for phone calls, wait on hold, wait for decisions, and wait for information.

We wait in traffic, in checkout lines, and in waiting rooms.

We wait for people to come or to go. We wait for them to be responsible and we wait for them to fail. We wait for them to DO something.

We wait for things to happen, for the weather to change, for an opportunity, for time to pass, and for that big moment.

Buddhists believe that waiting and doing are equal and essential parts of living. Maybe the key is how you manage the two to create balance.


"...but if we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.  Let's go.”  ~Lemony Snicket

Sometimes, no matter how much you want for things to happen, all you can do is wait. And usually, waiting is the hardest part.




Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Autumn's Here

The weather folks tell us that fall is finally here.  Today's rain forecast is supposed to bring cooler temps.  I like that idea!  

Now let's just hope that the leaves will cooperate and provide pretty colors.  I'm not too sure though, since some of ours are already falling...in a dark, crispy brown shade.  


"Autumn is a time to let go and release things that have been a burden." --Unknown

"Just like the seasons, people change." --Unknown

 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Handy People

We fix things around this house. My husband is the most talented guy when it comes to repairing stuff, and I'm not too shabby myself. We both like the challenge of troubleshooting and figuring out what's wrong and how things work.

This weekend it was our ten year old dishwasher. It's been a little stinky, so the other day I ran it with vinegar, cleaned out the filters, and scrubbed the seals, but nothing worked. Sunday morning it leaked on the floor. Uh-oh.

We found two places that may have caused the leak and a whole lot of yukky gray and black gunk built up under a plastic flange.  How could you possibly keep that clean?  We had to remove and get inside the door panel to access it!   A new part is on order, and the air vent is cleaned and reinstalled.

I guess I'm lucky...we saved whatever service companies might have charged for a 2-3 hour repair visit. But if we weren't so darn handy I might have a brand new stainless steel dishwasher right now. Hmmm.


“He taught me that there is no shame in breaking something, only in not being able to fix it.” ~Hope Jahren

“She believed in getting as much use as possible from everything, and thought that as long as machinery, or anything else, could be cajoled into operation, it should be kept; to do otherwise, she thought, was wasteful.”  ~Alexander McCall Smith


Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekly Agenda

Yeah, I still use a paper planner. Even though I keep a digital calendar and reminder notes on my phone for convenience, I like having a notebook for weekly planning and organization. One place where I can write notes, make lists, draw, and document what's going on in my life. 
 
But, I can never find one that fits my retirement lifestyle. So, I've been playing with designs of my own, sort of a planner/journal combination. I'm fine tuning four weekly layouts, using different colors and fonts. I may select one style or use them all. 

It's been fun sharpening my creative design skills on paper instead of in fabric.


"In retirement you'd better keep lists of things to do, otherwise you'll find yourself still in your pajamas at lunchtime."  ~Unknown

Monday, September 5, 2016

September Thoughts

I always think of September as a time to reset, probably because that's when we started back to school in the 60's. Thoughts of new notebooks and paper have me working on fresh planner and journal designs.

I took advantage of last week's cool mornings to tackle some outside chores. I reworked my flower beds (pulled the weeds so I can actually see the flowers). Adding a few colorful mums will freshen up the bare spots.

September means transition: to cooler weather, new clothes, and fall d├ęcor. It's the best of both seasons, really. Warm enough but less humid. Porch sitting. Airing out the house. Walks in the woods. Grilling steaks. Enjoying the last days of summer.

My plan for one of my favorite months: reflect, renew, and re-energize.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Popsicle Man!

Do you remember the musical jingle of the popsicle man coming down the street on hot summer afternoons? Kids were hollering and running like ants to find loose change and get to the road before he passed us by. I smile just thinking about those days. Ice cream sandwiches, nutty buddys, dreamsicles, and push-ups make my mouth water.

I was reminded of all this when I got a sampler assortment of fabric and found this adorable novelty print of brightly colored popsicles. I whipped up a quick wall hanging for my sewing room wall to enjoy these final days of August. And then I got an ice cream sandwich out of the freezer to celebrate. Here's to childhood memories!


We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.

I love those random memories that make me smile no matter what's going on in my life right now.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Breath Of Fresh Air

Twisted Picnic Squares
How refreshing! This morning I have our windows open, with fans pulling cool, sweet breezes through the house. That's a welcome change from the heat and oppressive humidity of the past two months. I'm having my coffee on the porch as I write, watching the hummers feed. It's a perfect way to begin a Monday.

Last week when it was so hot and rainy, I stayed indoors to finish another quilted piece. This one is in country summer colors with two old fashioned bright blue floral prints and contrasting red gingham accents.  Perfect for a summer picnic, don't you think?

“Some old-fashioned things 
like fresh air and sunshine 
are hard to beat.” 
~Laura Ingalls Wilder





Monday, August 15, 2016

Cat Envy

A few days ago. I captured this photo of Callie in the afternoon sunlight. She draped herself across the coffee table while I was reading. 

Watching her makes me want to become more cat-like.



Cats are intended to teach us that 
not everything in nature has a purpose.” 
~ Garrison Keillor

Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges. 
 Cats have the courage to live by them.” 
~ Jim Davis


Monday, August 8, 2016

Along For The Ride

Life can be easy, and it can be challenging. It really depends on the day, you know? You may have a plan, but the universe sometimes has other ideas. Your attitude can make all the difference.

If you want to go with the flow, don't resist. Let the day take you along for the ride. You might end up in a better place, meet new friends, deal with an emergency, or get a new perspective. Even if you're in a stressful situation, handle what comes. The rest will either get done, or it won't.

If you're up for a challenge, fight for your way and stay on track. Something that's important to you might require your full attention with no detours. Distractions may prevent you from reaching a goal or being there for someone. Being able to say no and stay focused can be very satisfying.

That's just life: easy, restful days along with difficult, challenging ones. It can be hard to know which path to follow. It helps to observe, listen, and assess your feelings before choosing. Either way, you'll learn something about yourself.

Your life, your choice. Whether it's bumpy or smooth, you're just along for the ride.

Life is like a roller coaster.
It has its ups and downs.
But it's your choice to scream
or enjoy the ride.

^^^^^
Our attitude toward life
determines
life's attitude towards us.
~John N. Mitchell


Monday, August 1, 2016

Rainy Days Are For Sewing

Colors of Summer
It's still hot, but this past week was rainy as well, so I took refuge in my sewing room. To continue my mission of using up fabric, I grabbed a color coordinated roll of precut strips and started piecing. White as contrast makes the orange, purple, yellow, pink, green and blue really shine.

It was quick work to piece the squares into blocks, and I had a match for the backing in gray with orange and hot pink flowers. I experimented with a variegated thread for quilting diagonal rows across the squares. Leftover strips for binding, and I was done. 

Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.
 






Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's Too Hot

It has been just sweltering in Tennessee!! It's too hot and humid to cook, work outside, or BE outside at all. Salads, sandwiches, and the crock pot are my best friends right now. I sneak out in the early morning to water flowers. The weeds will have to wait. (Why don't they wilt in the heat, anyway?)

It's almost too hot to sew. When you have a hot iron in the room to press seams, you might as well have the heat on. I'll stick to design projects, scrap piecing, and straightening up the sewing room until the temperature drops.

Light housework, reading, and chilling out are on my to do list for the time being. Along with drinking icy beverages and eating popsicles. 

Y'all stay cool, now!


Summer is the time when it's too hot to do all those things you put off last winter when it was too cold.” ~Linda Poindexter



Monday, July 18, 2016

I've Learned...

that you should be very careful who you trust. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.

The way people leave tells you everything about their character.

Honesty is much better than sugar-coated bullshit.

People lie because telling the truth takes courage, and liars are cowards looking for the easy way out.

When customers are treated badly, they will eventually take their business where they receive courtesy, honesty, and respect.

On a positive note, while the world seems full of fake people, thankfully there are still some genuine, caring ones around. Kick the fake liars out of your life, so there's more room for nice folks.

And, finally, I've got to stop asking these three questions:
     “How stupid can they be?”
     “Who would do THAT?”
     “What's wrong with people?”
Some idiots are actually taking them as a challenge.

-----------

Never do anything that you can't admit doing, 
because if you are that ashamed of whatever it is, 
it's probably wrong.” --Ashly Lorenzana


Monday, July 11, 2016

Solitude

Sometimes there is too much going on in life. Crazy politics, media frenzy over horrible news, rude people in crowded stores. Traffic jams, interruptions, distractions. It can be an assault on your senses.

Maybe it's time to turn off the noise. Put aside the to do lists. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense is to retreat and reflect. Sit alone in a quiet place and just be. Release worry and embrace calmness.

Escape for an hour or a day or a weekend. Take a break and enjoy solitude.


This was my moment to look for the kind of healing and peace that can only come from solitude.” -Elizabeth Gilbert


Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence

What a concept.

Independence means freedom from control, influence, support, aid, or interference of others.

In other words, standing on our own two feet and being proud to do so.

This includes not expecting handouts from the government, our parents, or our grandparents. Independence isn't easy, nor is it guaranteed. The world doesn't owe us anything: not a place to live, an inheritance, a job, or an education.

Too many people think they deserve to have everything provided, so they feel disrespected or offended if things don't go as they wish. They just don't get that we have to actively pursue and earn our independence.

Independence is being responsible for ourselves: learning, working, bringing home a paycheck, using these funds to pay bills—on time, and putting some aside for the future. It's planning, making decisions, using common sense, enjoying life, and finding our way on our own.

I believe that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. I'm proud that our forefathers fought for our freedom and our right to pursue happiness and independence.

Freedom cannot be bestowed — 
it must be achieved.”
Elbert Hubbard


Monday, June 27, 2016

Pretty Things

Last week I was engaged in domestic activities both inside and outside the house. Between yard work, sewing  projects, and helping out my mama, I found time to snap a few photos of beautiful things in my world.


Life is about the pretty little things.

Seek beauty in the smallest moments.





Monday, June 20, 2016

Distracted

Lately I've been a little scattered. Instead of focusing on my to do list, I find myself veering off course. I'll start a project that morphs into something completely different. I'm getting things done, only not what I had planned.

Could be I need to try harder to stay on track. Or maybe I just need to let go and follow where distraction leads me.


“I hate when people ask me what I'm doing tomorrow. I don't even know what I'm doing right now.” - Unknown

“You can always find a distraction if you're looking for one.” – Tom Kite


Monday, June 6, 2016

Southern Cross

Southern Cross
I love my latest quilt creation! I was playing around with log cabin blocks and my ever expanding scrap collection when I came up with this clean and colorful design. It was quick to piece and fun to quilt.

I used a specialty machine quilting stitch in black to outline the crosses, then continued the pattern outline with white quilting thread. Black and white gingham binding made the perfect frame.

The finished size is 36” square, but it could be stunning as a full size quilt. Wouldn't it be nice as a larger single block pillow cover, or done in various prints of the same color on a light or dark background? I will definitely be using this block again.



I just need some time
in a beautiful place
to clear my head.